Robust reconfigurable electromagnetic pathways within a photonic topological insulator

Nat Mater. 2016 May;15(5):542-8. doi: 10.1038/nmat4573. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


The discovery of topological photonic states has revolutionized our understanding of electromagnetic propagation and scattering. Endowed with topological robustness, photonic edge modes are not reflected from structural imperfections and disordered regions. Here we demonstrate robust propagation along reconfigurable pathways defined by synthetic gauge fields within a topological photonic metacrystal. The flow of microwave radiation in helical edge modes following arbitrary contours of the synthetic gauge field between bianisotropic metacrystal domains is unimpeded. This is demonstrated in measurements of the spectrum of transmission and time delay along the topological domain walls. These results provide a framework for freely steering electromagnetic radiation within photonic structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't